Your frequently asked coronavirus-related travel questions, answered

Apr 10, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

We are living in unprecedented times right now, especially in relation to travel. We’ve been keeping you informed of breaking news in the world of travel as well as advice on what you should do in relation to your own travel — both now and in the future.

We’ve received many questions from you, our valued readers, whether its by email, comments on the site, messages on social media or our live Cuppa TPG series.

Sign up for the free daily TPG U.K. newsletter for more travel news and deals.

Here are your top questions about travel right now, answered. Be sure to click the links for plenty more information.

When will it be safe to start travelling again?

Unfortunately, nobody knows. Until further notice, the FCO has advised U.K. nationals against all non-essential travel and told U.K. nationals to return home immediately. Most airlines are offering generous fee waiver policies to allow you to book with confidence now and change your travel if you choose not to travel at a later date.

We are still bringing you carefully selected great travel deals for later in the year when we feel it may be safe to travel again.

What should I do if I am stuck abroad trying to get home?

If you are abroad, you should return home as soon as possible or plan to remain where you are for the foreseeable future. Read our guide on exactly what you should do if you have been trying to return to the U.K.

Related: What to do if you’re stranded abroad trying to get home to the UK

How do I cancel or change an upcoming flight if it is no longer safe to travel?

When an airline cancels your flight (for example, because they are suspending a route because of coronavirus), you are legally entitled to a full refund. If you instead choose to cancel a booking yourself, you may only be entitled to a voucher to use at a later date (or change the date of your flight at no cost) rather than a cash refund. Try and make changes online where possible, otherwise expect long wait times if you are trying to call an airline.

For redemption flights booked with Avios or Flying Club miles, you can obtain a refund of the points/miles used and the fees, taxes and surcharges.

[UNVERIFIED CONTENT] Aerial view of one of Terminal 5 buildings of London Heathrow Airport and Boeing 747 and 777 aircrafts operated by British Airways at the gates on Wednesday, June 26, 2013. (Photo by Grzegorz Bajor/Getty Images)
(Photo by Grzegorz Bajor/Getty Images)

Will I be out of pocket if I change or cancel travel I had planned before the coronavirus hit?

In most cases, no. Airlines, hotels and other travel providers have introduced generous policies to allow you to change or cancel upcoming travel if it is no longer safe for you to do so. Travel providers are facing huge financial losses right now so are desperately trying to retain cash, so they will most likely allow you to change the date of upcoming travel to a later date for no change fee, or retain the value of your travel spend as a credit.

If an airline cancels your flight, you are entitled to a refund as discussed above.

Will my elite status with British Airways or Virgin Atlantic be extended given I can’t fly right now?

Virgin Atlantic has offered a generous six-month status extension to all Flying Club members while British Airways has only offered a modest reduction in Tier Points required for elite status for some Executive Club members — we think it should do more.

Related: Complete guide to airline elite status during the coronavirus outbreak

(Photo by Nicky Kelvin / The Points Guy)

Will travel be different in the future?

Right now, nobody knows for sure — but chances are likely. The Points Guy CEO Brian Kelly has given his thoughts on what the future of travel may entail.

Related: Looking past coronavirus — TPG’s Brian Kelly on the future of travel

Are airlines still flying?

Most airlines have dramatically reduced their schedules, with some ceasing operations altogether. Some airlines are still operating cargo-only flights and assisting local governments to repatriate stranded citizens. This has created some unusual flights.

Related: Some airlines have completely suspended service during coronavirus pandemic

Where are all the aircraft that are not flying being stored?

Thousands of aircraft worldwide are grounded as airlines reduce schedules. This has created unique storage issues for airlines like Virgin Atlantic and British Airways, which is storing aircraft at multiple locations around the U.K. and Europe.

Related: Where is British Airways parking its planes during the coronavirus outbreak?

British Airways planes parked on the tarmac at Glasgow Airport after Prime Minister Boris Johnson has put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (Photo by Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images)
(Photo by Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images)

What should I do about my British Airways Companion Voucher?

Good news: All valid Companion Vouchers, whether redeemed or not, have been extended by six months. This includes vouchers earned between now and 30 June 2020.

Related: British Airways extending expiration date of new and existing Companion Vouchers by 6 months

Will airlines survive this crisis?

The coronavirus crisis is likely to impact the aviation industry for years to come. Airlines like Lufthansa are already retiring aircraft and reducing its fleet as a result. Those airlines with a stronger balance sheet and more cash on hand have a greater likelihood of surviving this year than those that were already in a poor position beforehand.

Can I still earn points without travelling?

Absolutely. Even if you aren’t leaving the house, you’re likely still spending some money. Here are some creative ways to earn valuable loyalty points during lockdown and how to even earn that valuable credit card welcome bonus by reaching minimum spend without leaving the house.

Related: Stuck at home: How to plan your travel for when the coronavirus crisis is over

Where will you all travel when it’s safe to travel again?

While our wings are clipped right now, our imaginations aren’t! Our team have already planned where they will travel as soon as it’s safe to do so.

SCHIPHOL, NETHERLANDS - 2020/04/02: EasyJet aircrafts parked at an empty Schiphol Airport.Closed gates and departure halls at Schiphol airport during times of the coronavirus threats. The airport is shrinking what the airport itself calls Kern-Schiphol. This means that facilities for leaving passengers will continue in a slimmed-down form. (Photo by Robin Utrecht/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
(Photo by Robin Utrecht/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Bottom line

Its tough for both travellers and travel providers right now — the travel landscape has changed dramatically in just a few months. Stay home, stay safe and stay up to date with our travel news, deals and advice.

Featured image by Boris Roessler/picture alliance via Getty Images

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.